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Malaria wars

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Science  22 Apr 2016:
Vol. 352, Issue 6284, pp. 398-405
DOI: 10.1126/science.352.6284.398

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  • RE: Novel Malaria drugs
    • Sidney Altman, Sterling Professor Emeritus of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, Yale University
    • Other Contributors:
      • Choukri Ben Mamoun, Associate Professor of Infectious Diseasesses, Yale University

    Leslie Roberts gives a very good summary (22 APRIL, p. 398) of problems dealing with drug resistant malaria in southeast Asia but less attention is given to the difficulty in developing new drugs that can overcome parasite drug resistance. There are novel drugs, of proven effectiveness in infected red blood cells and in preliminary experiments in mouse models of malaria, that can overcome known parasite drug resistance (1, 2). The time lapse for development of resistance to these drugs is much longer than currently used drugs since a short sequence of a derivatized RNA is the active agent and it can tolerate several changes in its nucleotide sequence before becoming inactive (3). As indicated in the Roberts' article, the common "religious" aspects of many malaria researchers would have to be overcome to permit the new drugs for tests in the field.

    Sincerely,
    Sidney Altman
    Sterling Professor Emeritus of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology
    Senior Research Scholar
    Yale University
    New Haven, CT 06520
    E-mail: sidney.altman@yale.edu

    Choukri Ben Mamoun
    Department of Medicine (Infectious Diseases)
    Yale University School of Medicine
    New Haven, CT 06510
    E-mail: choukri.benmamoun@yale.edu

    References:
    1. Kolevzon, N., Nasreddin, A., Naik, S., Yavin, E. and Dzikowski, R. PLoS One...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.